NASA's Beloved Curiosity Rover Hasn't Even Driven a Whole Mile Yet

By Rebecca J. Rosen

See how it stacks up with other extra-planetary exploration in one chart.

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Lunkhod 1 (Wikimedia Commons)

NASA's Curiosity Rover arrived on Mars last August to much fanfare, but it's trails on the planet so far are pretty meager -- not even a mile. Extra-planetary rovers travel slowly. In fact, all of the man-made rovers combined, both Lunar and Martian, have only explored a grand total of 113 miles -- less than what you would cover in two hours on a highway without traffic.

A new chart from Space.com's Karl Tate gives the breakdown so far.

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You've got to hand it to the Mars Rover Opportunity, which today celebrates its ninth anniversary of life on the Red Planet. If it can last just a little longer, it stands a chance of overtaking the Apollo 17 vehicle, and maybe even Lunokhod 2, which set the record for distance driven on a land other than Earth in 1973.

This article available online at:

http://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2013/01/nasas-beloved-curiosity-rover-hasnt-even-driven-a-whole-mile-yet/272537/